Continuing to learn about fishing

Most anyone with normal common sense and a preference for warm and dry weather would rightly expect to have more fun on the lake on a sunny, shirtsleeve kind of day.

Fish actually are a lot like people. They respond better when the weather is stable, and the conditions are comfy. So why exactly was I launching my boat at 6:30 Sunday morning?

Just back from an extended stay in south Florida, my body was not exactly in synch with the 39-degree, drizzle dawn at Mosquito Creek Reservoir. I had made a commitment, and the day was dedicated to fishing, but I had to reach deep to crank up enthusiasm for the test I knew was coming.

What I discovered as I mustered the motivation was another lesson about the power of positive fishing. The tough days, those when the odds are stacked against us, can be far more educational than the times when the fish are energized and the weather is perfect.

Anybody can catch them when everything lays out in our favor. But putting fish in the boat when it would be easy to stay home teaches a whole lot more about the value of perseverance and good decisions.

So off I motored under a sunrise hidden by gloomy clouds in search of a place where my efforts might intersect with a few hungry largemouth bass.

Mosquito is known as an “early” lake. It typically is a great place to make the season’s first fishing trips, often producing in the days immediately after ice-off. This year has been another story, however, as our region has shivered under the effects of relentless cold fronts.

My brain was convinced, however, that while my ice-cold hands could not have tied a knot thanks to a couple of hours of exposure to the chilly wetness, the bass were moving in from their winter hangouts to find the 50-degree shoreline cover.

I fished on for three hours without a bite, but refused to let thoughts of quitting overpower me. My reward came at 10:30 that morning, as a keeper bass tugged at my Texas-rigged beaver-style bait, and I snapped the rod to drive the hook home.

An angler often needs just a hint of a clue to build confidence and formulate a tactical plan. That first bass on a nasty day lit the fuse, and I fished with purposeful focus on each and every presentation thereafter.

The day was far from my most pleasant on the water, but I gained a few degrees of satisfaction with each of the next three bass that bit. I’ve had better days, even in more difficult conditions, but in my book every day on the water is another page full of valuable experience.

While the day started in a mood as gray as the sky, 10 hours later, with some nice bass to show for my suffering, I drove home content that I’d learned another thing or two about fishing.

Crappie competition coming

How good is your crappie fishing? Find out May 5 at the Pymatuning Lake Association crappie tournament out of the pavilion at Espyville (Pa.) boat launch.

The tournament is for two-person teams. Entry fee is $45 in advance or $50 at the ramp. All proceeds go to the lake association’s habitat fund.

For information, phone 724-418-1501, email or visit Duck ’n Drake or Gateway Bait & Tackle in Andover, Espyville Marina, Poff’s Place in James-town or Gillette’s Bait & Tackle and Robinson’s in Linesville.

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